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Transportation Power

How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
cartechboy writes Tesla's Superchargers are the talk of the electric car community. These charging stations can take a Model S battery pack from nearly empty to about 150 miles of range in around 30 minutes. That's crazy fast, and it's nothing short of impressive. But what does it take to actually build a Tesla Supercharger site? Apparently a lot of digging. A massive trench is created to run high-capacity electric cables before the charging stations themselves are even installed. A diagram and photos of the Electric Conduit Construction build out have surfaced on the Internet. The conduits connect the charging stations to a power distribution center, which in turn is connected to a transformer that provides the power for charging cars. It took 11 days to install the six charging stalls in Goodland, Kansas. If you thought it was a quick process to build a Supercharger station, you were clearly wrong.
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How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

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  • Re:That's not quick? (Score:5, Informative)

    by theheff (894014) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:07PM (#47725083)
    The Goodland, KS site was actually one of the fastest sites to go up- 11 days is very quick. The supercharger in Indio, California, for instance, was started months ago and still isn't online.
  • by w_dragon (1802458) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:38PM (#47725529)
    The only places you need quick-charge station are places where people will be traveling long distances. Most of the time people will charge overnight at home. Most highways have areas where you could easily build a huge lot with rapid chargers. I suspect the larger issue most places will be finding and transporting enough power to charge perhaps hundreds of cars at one time.
  • by Rei (128717) on Friday August 22, 2014 @05:30AM (#47727513) Homepage

    Now of course gas stations don't always have fully occupied pumps and that's the point, so that almost whenever you arrive, there's a free pump available.

    That actually doesn't help your argument any. The longer it takes to fill up, the more you smooth out the random demand fluctuations.

    Let's say the time per pump is 5 minutes and the time per charger is 30 minutes, so we have to build 6x more chargers to service the same number of vehicles (and that you have to build the charging stations more frequently due to the range). So we'll compare a 4 pump gas station with a 24 charger EV station. So let's say that we get the following rate of people arriving (picking some numbers at random):

    1:00: 1
    1:05: 0
    1:10: 6
    1:15: 7
    1:20: 3
    1:25: 0
    1:30: 0
    1:35: 2
    1:40: 1
    1:45: 8
    1:50: 6
    1:55: 0
    2:00: 1

    What happens in these scenarios? First, gasoline:

    1:00: 1 pump in use
    1:05: 0 pumps in use
    1:10: 4 pumps in use, 2 people waiting
    1:15: 4 pumps in use, 5 people waiting
    1:20: 4 pumps in use, 4 people waiting
    1:25: 4 pumps in use, 0 people waiting
    1:30: 0 pumps in use
    1:35: 2 pumps in use
    1:40: 1 pump in use
    1:45: 4 pumps in use, 4 people waiting
    1:50: 4 pumps in use, 6 people waiting
    1:55: 4 pumps in use, 2 people waiting
    2:00: 3 pumps in use, 0 people waiting.

    What about the charging station?

    1:00: 1 charger in use
    1:05: 1 chargers in use
    1:10: 7 chargers in use
    1:15: 14 chargers in use
    1:20: 17 chargers in use
    1:25: 17 chargers in use
    1:30: 16 chargers in use
    1:35: 18 chargers in use
    1:40: 13 chargers in use
    1:45: 14 chargers in use
    1:50: 17 chargers in use
    1:55: 17 chargers in use
    2:00: 18 chargers in use

    With the gas station, 23 people needed to wait, some of them for a rather long time. With the charging station, nobody needed to wait. Despite the fact that the charging is 1/6th the speed, that doesn't actually imply you need 6x more chargers. In the above example, we see that the gas station should have had 8 pumps while the charging station 18 chargers, or 2.25x more.

    More on the other problems with your post in just a second - I just felt that this particular aspect deserved a whole post on its own.

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